Bil Zelman is an American photographer and director known for his powerful, candid portraiture and spontaneous, photojournalistic style. Zelman developed a highly stylized form of hardflash street photography while in art school and Los Angeles Times art critic Leah Ollman compares the psychological density of his work to the likes of Garry Winogrand, Larry Fink, Diane Arbus and William Klein photographers that are purposely getting it wrong in one way so as to get it right in another, disrupting visual order to ignite a kind of visceral disorder. As described by David Hobby in an interview for Strobist, His airy, momentoriented photos are loose, honest and have an unscripted, natural feel to them work has evolved into a look that is almost childlike.
Bil Zelman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Dr. David Zelman, and his wife Adala Zelman who are both professors. He spent his early life in Troy, New York in a home was far from functional. He began shooting and developing film at an early age and at nineyearsold he built his own darkroom with a friend a place that would become his sanctuary.